“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Several Teleprompters had to take early retirement from sheer exhaustion

We are probably not worthy of having Obama as our president.

Blindsided by their own blindness
By Kathleen Parker
The Washington Post
Thursday, November 4, 2010;

Two words: Narrative, schmarrative.

Democrats have talked endlessly about the importance of narrative - missing in President Obama's case. We've heard over and over about the lack of smart messaging and the president's failure to communicate. If only Obama could better express himself, all would be well.

Seriously? This is the same president whose soaring rhetoric once sent his ratings into the heavenly realm and who, after assuming office, never stopped expressing himself.

For months, he was everywhere. Talking, talking, talking. Admit it. How many times did you flip on the tube and say, "Omigod, he's talking again"? Several Teleprompters had to take early retirement from sheer exhaustion.

Here's a narrative: You can't sell people what they don't want, no matter how mellifluous your pitch. This is the clear message of the midterm elections, and who didn't know?

Only Democrats, apparently.

They - the imperial "they" - say that the people weren't voting against the president. Check. Most Americans don't dislike the president, as in the person. Obama didn't create this dismal economy, and most acknowledge that fact. But voters were clearly casting a ballot against his policies.

And no, the Tea Partyers weren't voting against his pigmentation, as my colleague Eugene Robinson suggested in a recent column. "Take back the country," the popular Tea Party refrain, doesn't mean reclaim it from "the black man." It means reclaim it from a rogue government.

There were so many clues, even the clueless should have seen what was coming.

In February 2009, Obama had an approval rating of 76 percent. Let me repeat that: 76 percent! Few but God poll better. Obviously, one can go only downhill from there, but you can't pin the slide on racism. All those people didn't suddenly realize their president was African American and become racists.

Are there racists in America? Sure. And some of them show up at Tea Party rallies. Say what you will about the Tea Party, and there's plenty to say, but it is fundamentally unfair to label the Tea Partyers overall as racist. It is also just plain incorrect to say that opposition to Obama is anti-black. The election was a referendum on policies that are widely viewed as too overreaching and, ultimately, threatening to individual freedom. It's that simple.

The essential question that voters were answering was whether government or the private sector is better suited to create jobs. This is a question on which historians and economists disagree, but it was the crux of Tuesday's election. At the risk of oversimplifying, the midterm bloodbath was a fight over capitalism.

Whether candidates could properly articulate market arguments was less important than whether they understood that expanded government means less individual freedom. You don't need a doctorate in Keynesian theory to get them apples.

Obama's declining popularity since his planet-realigning ascendancy is easy enough to graph. The dipping points in his approval ratings correspond to specific agenda items, such as the stimulus bill and health-care reform. Interspersed among those major initiatives were red flags the size of Chile.

In November 2009, New Jersey and Virginia both elected Republican governors - Chris Christie and Bob McDonnell, respectively. These two elections were referendums on Obama's agenda, specifically tied to health care. Then in January came Republican Scott Brown in Massachusetts, another Democratic state, thundering into the Senate to fill the slot left vacant by Ted Kennedy's death.

That's narrative for you. Yet somehow Democrats couldn't see it. They turned a blind eye and did the very thing Americans loathe: telegraphed disdain for the misinformed masses and insisted that people would like what their government was doing for them once they understood it. Translation: Shut up and take your medicine.

It was less than reassuring to hear House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tell a gathering of county officials: "We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it."

Instead of hearing the people's voices, Democrats and the White House doubled down and began to demonize the opposition. It was Rush Limbaugh's fault. Fox News was the problem. John Boehner, today the presumptive speaker of the House, became a target du jour. In an echo of some of the Tea Party's worst moments, the White House advanced the them-vs.-us mantra.

They're the problem. Except, alas, "they" were The People. And their voices were being ignored. For better or worse, our system of governance doesn't include a monarchy.

Obama didn't need to be a better communicator. He needed to be a better listener. End of story.


  1. It was not Obamacare, the skunked the Democrats, any more than it was Medicare Drug Benefits that wiped out the GOP in 2008.

    It was not the deficit, either, or Reagan would never have been re-elected.

    It was, and will be, the state of the economy that drove the opposition of the incumbents to victory. Both in the Democrats landslide victory of 2008 and the return to Republican balance, in 2010.

    If Boehner and the GOP spend the next year attempting to repeal Obamacare, then they will come a crapper in 2012.

    It is going to be interesting to watch, we'll be back to normal, with the GOP holding one branch of the government.

    We'll all get to see what their funding priorities are, since spending legislation starts in the House. Watch the deals and trading, to get their particular priorities and earmarks through the system.

    Will Boehner and the GOP do a reprise Newt in '94, and shut down the Federal Government?

    That played out very well, for Mr Clinton.

  2. The GOP leaders in the House will solemnly proclaim that the next Obama Budget to be:

    "Dead on Arrival"

    Then the Federals will get busy, horsetrading.

    Or the GOP will "hold the line" and be held to blame for the second "dip" of the recession.

    One which everyone, here at the Bar, seems sure will come. If it does while Mr Boehner and Company fret about and spend the year debating Obamacare repeal, the 2012 cycle will be another blood bath.

    Especially when $1.2 trillion in stimulus, plus the wars paid on credit have not been enough to do more than slow the collapse.

    No one in Washington, Mr Boehner included, is ready to kill Keynesian economics on the Federal level.

    Rand Paul, perhaps the exception, but he will be in a minority of one.

  3. Blah, Blah,
    'Rat brings his msm parroting routine to the next thread, so now I'll have to fetch my (priceless) response.

  4. "Seriously? This is the same president whose soaring rhetoric once sent his ratings into the heavenly realm and who, after assuming office, never stopped expressing himself."


    In fact, if you watch the crap he was getting away with during the campaign, you'll find it embarassingly immature.

    They gave his upturned snout and formulaic speechmaking high marks, but other than the 2004 thing, and perhaps a few others, it was BS, pure and simple.

    ...but he got high marks for being a clean, articulate, far fucking left liberal who happens to be half black.

    Whoop de frigging do!

  5. Doug said...
    Rat's got the MSM programing nailed down tite.

    ...just like he did when he said states like AZ, NM, and Colorado were turning permanently blue after the last election.

    We now know how long that lasted.

  6. Doug said...

    ...and all the rest of you fuckers did a few days ago when you said electing GOP/Teaparty candidates would make no difference.

    I'd rather go completely bust later, rather than sooner, thank you very much.

  7. Doug said...

    (even tho 'Rat knows he's on safe territory predicting the eventual demise of this once great nation)

    Here's another one:

    I predict the sun will burn out.

  8. DeMint warned the incoming tea party-backed senators that “co-option is coercion” and offered a series of steps that would limit the leverage GOP leaders could hold over the freshmen.

    The advice included not requesting earmarks, hiring conservative staff, to beware of leaders dangling enticing committee assignments and to not let reelection become “more important than your job.”

    “Washington operates on a favor-based economy and for every earmark, committee assignment or fancy title that’s given, payback is expected in return. The chits come due when the roll call votes begin,” wrote DeMint.

    Though DeMint is not challenging Mitch McConnell’s leadership slot, his op-ed is the latest signal he will seek to join with the incoming freshmen to vigorously challenge the GOP leadership on individual issues.

    Six tea party-affiliated or otherwise strongly conservative Republican outsiders won senate seats last night. They are: Kelly Ayotte in New Hampshire, Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania, Marco Rubio in Florida, Ron Johnson in Wisconsin, Mike Lee in Utah and Rand Paul in Kentucky.

    They will join DeMin, Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, and Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana on the conservative flank of the Senate, and some moderate Republicans are fearful. “Dude, I’m terrified. These people are f***ing nuts,” a moderate GOP House aide told TheDC in early September.

    Read more: Here

  9. hAfter Engine Failure, Qantas Grounds A380 Fleet

    The announced suspension came after one of Qantas’s A380 planes, bound for Sydney, returned to Singapore and made an emergency landing after one of its four engines shut down over western Indonesia. One of the A380’s four engines, the No. 2 engine, shut down during the flight, said a Qantas spokeswoman, Emma Kearns, in Sydney.

    My ass.
    Uncontained catastrophic failure.
    Lucky it blew outside.
    Up it coulda blown the wing tanks,
    inside, it woulda depressurized the cabin. least.

  10. That op ed, Rubio's and Boehner's speeches are three of the best things after the election.

  11. Remember the joy of hearing from Trent Lott? He is back:

    Under attack from DeMint, Lott also sought to burnish his conservative credentials.

    “I just want to remind everybody. I’ll put my conservative voting record up against any of ‘em. I was voting conservative before a lot of these people were born. So, I don’t appreciate having my credentials questioned as a conservative,” Lott said.

    Read more: here

  12. Neither Rubio's nor Boehner's best lines garnered applause, 'cause they weren't sound-bytes crafted for just that purpose:

    They refered to substantive, serious issues.

  13. Trent Lott should go live with uncle Rufus.
    ...or Remus

  14. .
    Groundhog Day at the EB?

    (Sorry, I guess as you start getting older it's common to start repeating yourself. I should be more sympathetic.)


  15. Q, and speaking of Ground Hog Day, thought anymore about doing some posts beyond your star gazing?

  16. You can volunteer by sending in an email for a key.

  17. .
    I was jokingly referring to Rat and Doug reposting their gems from the last stream Deuce.

    No comment on the excellent quality of the blog stream itself.

    I could spend all day ragging on the little pineapple eater. It never gets old.


  18. Q…Doooo Eeeet….

    I'll do Sag if you take the honor.

  19. .
    That's very tempting Mel. It's a busy month.

    I'm currently going through reams of post because of the Bosco Awards.

    One concern I have about putting up post streams is that as has been demonstrated here before I am computer illiterate. If actually doing some posting requires me to read an instruction manual it is unlikely I could swing it.

    Then there is the issue of my wifes "Honey Do List". This is not a major obstacle since I have been such a disappointment to her for so long it is unlikely this would swing the needle much.

    And then there is the fact that my mind is skewed somewhat from the normal. Where I to put up posts, it is likely the only ones interested in them might be me and Bob.

    I'll need to think about it.

    (If you ever want to try your hand at one of horoscopes though, feel free. Just let me know so I don't duplicate it.)


  20. I would never take away your craft you know that. You suggested it first and I was like nah I don't do public speaking. Then you mentioned it again and thought maybe you really were busy. So I thought about it and if you really wanted me to do it I would. I'm bored. It will give me something to do until I get over the realization that the temperature is not going to rise above 60 degrees.

  21. .
    You got it babe.

    Doing it this month will help me out, the Boscos and all. Or would you rather do your own sign next month?

    Whatever is convenient for you.

    Let me know.



  22. Now you know I could never do my own sign. There wouldn't be a flaw in it.

  23. I'll do you proud. I hope. Would you like to proofread or do you trust me.

  24. .


    Do it any way you'd like.

    If you want, I can give you a big build-up a few days before you are ready to publish.

    (Maybe we need some publicity pictures too. I'm thinking something with a silk cape, white blouse, and oh I don't know, maybe a plaid skirt. Just thinking out loud here. I did major in marketing you know.)


  25. Are there any Sag's in the bar?

  26. .
    Not that I'm aware of.

    Just from what's been said, I know some and think I know others but no Sags.

    The ones I don't know, Deuce, Whit, Cleaning Lady, Rufus on the regulars.